PHOENIX — Early Sunday morning, officials with both the Phoenix Police Department and the Phoenix Fire Department responded to an apartment fire at a complex located at 5601 W. McDowell Rd.
As firefighters battled the fire inside the residence, they discovered that five people were living in the apartment.
“One of the firefighters made his way inside to a back bedroom,” Officer James Holmes of the Phoenix PD told KTAR. “The door is closed and he immediately kicks that door in. The room is engulfed in smoke to the point where he almost has to get on his knees to get inside.
“Unfortunately, what he finds is a family of five — a 33-year-old mother and four children all unconscious.”
The oldest of the four children inside, a 14-year-old girl, was pronounced dead at the scene.
While the other four of the victims — the 33-year-old mother and her three children ages 10, three and three months old — were all transported to nearby area hospitals.
The three-year-old and three-month-old are listed in extremely critical but stable condition, while the mother and her 10-year-old are listed in critical condition.
Upon further investigation it’s believed that the fire may have been started intentionally, thus it’s being treated as a homicide.
“We conducted our investigation and as we moved forward we were able to develop information that this fire was suspicious and might well be arson,” said Holmes.
Holmes went on to add that a person of interest has been taken into police headquarters.